THE BIGGEST snacking day of the year is nigh, and Super Bowl party hosts will soon be building their spreads for the big game. The most ambitious have been laying the groundwork for weeks, partaking in a trend of assembling models of stadiums using party food. Three years ago Cardinals fan Sean Aron began taking the art of the "snackadium" to a new level, constructing elaborate replicas of the Super Bowl host stadium. SI caught up with Aron as he put final touches on a model of Minneapolis's glistening two-year-old U.S. Bank Stadium, site of Super Bowl LII.
How early do you start construction?
My wife tells me I can't start until after the holidays—she hates it because I take over her kitchen island for an entire month, which is about how long it takes. We have an almost 7-by-3½-foot island, and it was full last year.
How much food is required for the undertaking?
Last year we did a whole salad bar, a nacho bar, we ordered 150 wings—those were gone in three minutes. This year we should get 200 or 250 wings. Everyone spends the first half hour eyeing [the stadium], and no one wants to be the first to touch it.
What are the challenges this year?
This year's going to be really big—I've stepped up my game a little bit. I have the soda can dispenser that automatically rotates with the ramps, a candy dispenser in one of the end zones and desserts on the side panels. If you see pictures of U.S. Bank Stadium, the whole front part of it is glass. I'm going to use plexiglass. And it's a super odd shape too. It's been challenging. I wish I had more time to do it.
ANDY STAPLES'S PIGGIES
The world doesn't need another end-of-season awards column. What it could use is more fried avocado and octopus fritters. With the college football season over, here's a look back at some of my most memorable meals on the beat. Presenting the Piggies, honoring the best things I ate all season.
The winning ensemble at Mama's Boy in Athens: the pulled pork hash with home fries and poached eggs. Break those yolks and dig in.
The bartenders at Frank in Austin mix a mean Old Fashioned—and a sweet one. The Old Fashioned Bourbon Shake (left) adds ice cream to the classic concoction.
BEST HIDDEN GEM
I lucked into the unmarked spot in Seattle. If you can find Tsukushinbo—and you can get in—go crazy with the sushi rolls and don't miss the ramen..
Madison Social in Tallahassee combines thick-cut bacon with fried avocado on its MadSo Burger. A marvel of deep-fried engineering.